2018 Barbecue Gift Guide: What to put on your retail floor to entice the grill hounds

What to put on your retail floor to entice the grill hounds
Happy Holiday! Bring me flesh and bring me wine. My favorite time of year has arrived. Your clients are nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of smoked turkeys dance in their heads. For them, I’ve compiled a short list of barbecue gift ideas in a wide range of prices, from fun, inexpensive stocking stuffers to jewels at just under $9,000. Naughty, nice or both, here’s something for everyone on your customers’ gift lists.


Only those who’ve been extremely good this year can expect to wake up Christmas morning to find Santa’s helpers (that’s you) left an $8,748 Hestan Outdoor GMBR36 Gas Grill on their deck. Of the many gas grills we’ve tested and reviewed, Hestan is easily one of the best.

smokerWe love the variable temperature infrared sear burner with intense heat that rivals red-hot charcoal and can produce a dark mahogany sear on steaks. We’re also very impressed with the engineering design, the workmanship, the functionality and the durability of the grill, built entirely in Anaheim, Calif.

One of the many unique features on this model is Hestan’s rotisserie system that positions an infrared backburner directly above the food, not on the rear as in most other grills. There’s a warming rack/grate that can go below the burner, and it can be raised or lowered.

Because the burner is overhead, it can act as a broiler, and this opens up a number of cooking techniques.

GrillThe Hestan Outdoor Kitchen catalog includes refrigeration and wine storage, as well as pantries, doors, drawers and trash chutes in stainless steel and a variety of eye-catching colors that appeal to shifting consumer tastes in outdoor decor.

A recent article on retro colors from the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association states, “Retro is the new neutral. This year, brightly colored grills are replacing the typical black and stainless-steel grills. Colors are also a big trend when it comes to the patio. Overall, outdoor spaces are becoming more vibrant and colorful in 2018.”


stainlessThe Good-One Heritage Oven design was driven by requests from dealers and customers who wanted a tough and true, competition-grade smoker/grill that drops into a 30-inch outdoor kitchen setup with no need for customization. It’s a heavy metal smoker with stainless steel front doors that complement the cosmetics of most outdoor kitchens.

Heritage uses the same concepts of an offset smoker, but it works better. There’s a front firebox that doubles as a grill. It has three air intakes and a damper that runs the entire length of the firebox that controls smoke and heat to the smokebox. The wide damper provides much more even heat from left to right than an offset barrel smoker that positions the fire offset to one side.

cookersThe smoke and heat rise up from the firebox, enter the rear of the smoke box along the entire length, and circulate around the meat. The firebox is large enough to grill on, or you can use it for crisping the meat and sauce over high heat after you’ve smoked it. You can even grill and smoke at the same time.

Portable Kitchen’s PK360 Grill and Smoker takes all the great elements of the classic 1952, cast aluminum PK Grill, tweaks and improves the design, beefs up construction, and delivers one of the more cosmetically beautiful charcoal grills we’ve seen.

Check out its heavy cast aluminum construction. The hinged cooking grate allows easy access to tend the charcoal fire. Both the cooking grate and charcoal grate are marine-grade stainless steel rods that provide superior performance and last forever.

MasterbuiltThe rectangular shape and four-way venting, with two intake vents on the bottom and two corresponding exhaust vents on top, make PK360 easy to set up for two-zone cooking, with a moderate indirect zone on one side and hot direct zone on the other.

Today, most grills are made with coated steel or stainless steel, but when Portable Kitchen began in the ’50s, cast aluminum grills were common. True to this tradition, the PK360 should not rust out and die. It is lightweight and portable, yet delivers the capacity and performance of many heavier models that rarely leave the backyard. There are very few moving parts and no electronics, so we realistically expect these 360s to provide  many years, even many generations, of service as the old classics have since the 1950s.


ThermoTemp,Vertical gas smokers make smoking meats a snap. Affordable price tags, ease of use and great results combine to make them some of the most popular residential smokers on the market. With the new Masterbuilt Thermo-Temp, smoking on gas just got easier.

Most outdoor cookers have inaccurate, built-in heat estimators. Vertical gas smokers notoriously use some of the cheapest, most useless “thermometers” available. These cave-era gauges routinely display temperature readings that are off by 50° to 100°F.

To ensure your customer’s briskets and pork butts are really smoking at a low and slow temp of 225°F for 16 hours, they absolutely must monitor cooking temperature with an accurate digital thermometer (see p. 46).

thermometersThankfully, Masterbuilt’s ThermoTemp smokers don’t have cheap built-in thermometers. In fact, they don’t have any thermometers at all. Instead, they use a thermostat located inside the smoke box. The thermostat regulates the flow of gas to the burner to maintain a selected cooking temperature.

Set ThermoTemp’s temperature dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat mounted inside will adjust the gas burner as needed, just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood chunks to the wood-chip tray above the gas burner and start smokin’.

The GoBQ portable charcoal grill was created to offer a truly mobile grill. Constructed of flame-resistant, silicone-coated, fiberglass fabric, this grill rolls up and fits in a backpack, or sling it over your shoulder with an included carrying strap. Even the cooking grate is flexible. And when all the grilling is done, GoBQ Grill goes with the griller: to a game, in a train, on a plane. Oh, the places you will GoBQ!

Most people don’t need GoBQ’s extreme portability. But if that special someone would find the exceptional mobility of value, GoBQ is a one-of-a-kind grill. The unique, inventive design makes it a striking gift at a modest price.


overnight,We keep harping about the importance of using digital thermometers and have gradually succeeded in bringing naysayers over from the distant dark ages into the light of the 21st century. Digital thermometers can improve your customer’s barbecue game overnight and you, no doubt, already have some on your shelves.

ThermoPop is an entry-level, hand-held instant-read thermometer from industry leader ThermoWorks. It’s extremely accurate and quick to respond. The display is automatically back-lit and rotates in 90-degree increments, making it easy to read from any angle. This handy unit runs on two regular CR2032 batteries that should last 5,000 hours, so they may never need to be changed. Construction is solid, the housing is waterproof, and it comes in colors.

yourNew York Times best-seller “Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling”  won’t fit in a stocking, but it sure makes a great gift for outdoor cooks of all skill levels. What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said? It’s been called, “One of the 100 Best Cookbooks of All Time” by Southern Living magazine, “One of 22 Essential Cookbooks” by SeriousEats.com, and “One of the 25 Favorite Cookbooks of All Time” by readers of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street. If it’s not already on your shelves, what are you waiting for?

Talk about color. How’s this for colorful barbecue sauce?

Surprise! It’s my very own Black Swan Gourmet BBQ Sauce. We get a lot of compliments on our labels. Of course, you don’t eat the artwork, so we make sure what’s in the bottle is even better than what’s on the bottle.

Black Swan is one of the few barbecue sauces made with fresh pureed vegetables. The enticing aroma and international flavor is enjoyed at home and abroad because we export Black Swan to Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica and Indonesia. Let your shoppers discover why The Chicago Sun Times declares Black Swan to be, “A product that breaks all taste barriers!”